Chennai: The Madras High Court gave a split verdict on petitions challenging the disqualification of 18 AIADMK MLAs owing allegiance to TTV Dinakaran.
Chief Justice Indira Banerjee upholds Speaker's order disqualifying the MLAs, while Justice M Sundar striked it down.
The verdict comes as a breather for the EPS-OPS faction of the AIADMK, while the TTV Dinakaran faction may pin its hopes on a larger bench. The EPS-OPS faction might use this time to entice some of the 18 MLAs back into fold.
Dinakaran said the verdict only gives two-three months’ time to the Tamil Nadu government and the 18MLAs will continue to support him. “These 18 MLAs were choosen by 'Amma' (late Jayalalithaa). Just because some of the MLAs didn't turn up today it doesn’t mean they are not with me or they will betray me. None of these people will be tempted by money. This is an ideological battle. AIADMK government is anti-people,” he said.
The opposition DMK has been claiming that with the disqualification of the MLAs, the Palaniswami government had been reduced to a minority.
The ruling AIADMK has a strength of 116 MLAs excluding the Speaker but including S Karunaas (Mukkulathor Pulipadai), M Thamimun Ansari (Manithaneya Jananayaga Katchi) and U Thaniyarasu (Tamil Nadu Kongu Ilaignar Peravai), who had won on the ruling party's two leaves symbol in the 2016 polls.
While 18 MLAs owing allegiance to Dinakaran were disqualified, the DMK has 89 MLAs, its allies Congress eight and the IUML one in the 234-member strong House.
Dinakaran got elected from RK Nagar last year and is the lone Independent member of the House. Dinakaran, nephew of VK Sasikala, had been claiming that the Palaniswami government would not last long.
The MLAs were disqualified after they had called on Tamil Nadu governor expressing lack of confidence in the leadership of Palaniswami and seeking a change of guard.